End licensed bars in primary schools now, says Swanswell

26 May 2016

Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, has set up a petition calling on the government to end licensed bars at child-centred events in primary schools.  

The change.org petition calls on the government to change the law so that applications for Temporary Event Notices (TENs) at these events are automatically rejected – currently they’re automatically granted unless the police or environmental health object.

Alcohol was sold at over 9,000 school discos, fetes and sports days across England and Wales in 2014/15. That’s equivalent to one in three primary schools, or a licensed bar opening up every hour every day of the year.

Studies show that a child’s future relationship with alcohol is shaped by their own parents’ attitude to alcohol - particularly between the ages of six and ten. When a child sees their parents drinking at the school disco it creates a positive expectation around alcohol.  

Teaching children about responsible drinking should include examples of not drinking at all. If children aren’t able to experience social events where alcohol isn’t present they could make an early link between socialising and alcohol - likely to influence them to drink when they’re more independent.

Commenting on the petition Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘We’re calling on the government to think again about alcohol in primary schools. A glass of wine at the school disco might sound harmless but it normalises alcohol for children in an environment that should be setting a better example. Alcohol is everywhere in today’s society, does it really need to be in primary schools too? Isn’t this a bar too far?’

She added; ‘We’re giving up to five million very young children mixed messages about alcohol. Is it really that surprising if some of them choose to drink in their own social setting when they’re more independent?’ In fact, we’re already seeing 109 children a week admitted to hospital because of alcohol and today’s children could become tomorrow’s problem drinkers. Out of a typical year group of 100 children today, 40 will go on to be affected by alcohol in some way in the future. Can’t we do better than this for our children?

The national alcohol and drug recovery charity want the petition to raise awareness of the situation. They’ll then present it to the Minister, Karen Bradley MP.

You can help Swanswell by signing the petition and sharing it via social media.          

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